A Delhi BJP delegation launched an indefinite dharna and held the DJB CEO "captive" at the utility's headquarters here on Tuesday, as the party sharpened its attack on the Arvind Kejriwal government over water and power supply in the city.
DJB Vice-Chairman Dinesh Mohaniya accused the BJP of politicising the issue and our supply has not declined, but the demand has been increasing due to the oppressive heat
The delegation led by former Union minister Vijay Goel came to meet DJB CEO Nikhil Kumar, who took charge on June 6, at around 5 pm.
The DJB headquarters, however, soon turned into a protest venue as the delegation started raising slogans against the Kejriwal government, alleging the utility headed by the chief minister had no plan to deal with the "water crisis" in the national capital.
Goel told PTI that the delegation had "held the CEO captive and he would not be allowed to leave till he promises to organise special camps and issue advertisements publicising its grievance redressal system".
BJP MLA O P Sharma said the DJB staff had locked the doors on the ground floor to prevent other BJP supporters from moving up to the CEO's room.
Goel, a former Delhi BJP president, Sharma and other party leaders, indulged in arguments with DJB officials over the water supply issue.
"They have no clue as to how many complaints they have received. They don't have any knowledge about the areas where people have been getting contaminated water or no water at all. They have no plans to resolve the crisis. We have gheraoed the CEO office, we have held him captive and will not let him leave tonight," he said.
Later, police were called in as protesters jostled with the DJB staff in a bid to force their way into the CEO's office on the third floor.
The protest was underway even as senior DJB officials assured redressal of the protestors' grievances.
Earlier in the day, BJP's New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi also staged a protest at the DJB's R K Puram office, while Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari wrote to Chief Minister Kejriwal a letter drawing his attention to "power outages" and "acute water crisis" gripping the national capital.
Kejriwal said in a tweet that Delhi gets round-the-clock power supply at the cheapest rates in the country.
Chief Executive Officer of the DJB Nikhil Kumar said the officials have been directed to redress complaints of protesters in the shortest possible time.
The DJB takes care of water supply and sewerage system in the city.
"As the CEO of the DJB, I have heard the issues of the people gathered here. Officials have been given strict instructions to redress their grievances in shortest time," Kumar said.
The BJP leaders have been cornering the ruling AAP over power and water supply that it counts among two of its most significant achievements since coming to power in Delhi in 2015.
Tiwari said BJP workers and leaders will not allow the Kejriwal government to "sit idle" while people are suffering due to "crisis" of power and water supply.
Charging the Kejriwal government of being "visionless", he claimed that it "failed" to come out with a summer action plan to ensure proper power supply to the people. Goel too charged that there was no summer action plan for water supply in the city.
"The summer action plan for power supply has to be ready by February every year but it is appalling to learn that the government led by you does not have the summer action plan in place till date," Tiwari wrote to Kejriwal.
He also claimed that many areas of the city were facing "outages" due to "inadequate" power supply.
Citing problems faced by people due to "scarcity" of water, Tiwari said "it is very unfortunate that people are facing water crisis although the chief minister himself is the chairman of the Delhi Jal Board."
He asserted that every house in the city will have a supply of piped water four years after the BJP comes to power in Delhi.
Tiwari also alleged that tanker mafia were having a "field day" even as people are facing problems of shortage and poor quality of water supply.
He also alleged that there is a daily shortage of 230 MGD of water per day and around 37 lakh people are not getting water supply in the city.
Rejecting the charge, DJB Vice-Chairman Mohaniya said in many areas, such as in Anand Parbat, geographical constraints do not allow the DJB to lay water and sewer pipelines.
"They always tell the half truth. It's not that only Delhi has been facing issues. The entire country is reeling under a severe heatwave and facing water shortage. We have been supplying water beyond our capacity. Our supply hasn't declined, but the demand has been increasing due to the oppressive heat," Mohaniya said.
"All rivers, lakes and ponds across the country are running dry. But instead of helping people in such a situation, the BJP is politicising the issue," he alleged.